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The Official Guide to 3D Game Studio – A Book Review

the official guide to 3d game studio mike duggan book cover

Along with the Torque game engine by Garage Games, the 3D Game Studio by Conitec has dominated the last decade as an affordable and effective 3D game authoring platform for hobbyists, independent game creators, and professional games studios alike. Dominating book releases covering game design within these game engines are author, programmer and motion graphics expert, Michael Duggan.

Mike Duggan, the author of Torque for Teens, is also the author of The Official Guide to 3D Game Studio. In this book, Duggan covers every aspect of game creation within the 3D Game Studio authoring environment, and more besides. Rather than concentrating purely on the software, Duggan provides an extensive introduction to the business side of the games industry. He provides the reader not only with the skills to plan and create games in 3D Game Studio but also with a grounding in how to deliver those games to the public. This may be through traditional publishing or as a scratchware product.

Official Guide to 3D Game Studio Contents

The Official Guide to 3D Game Studio is split into four parts over 13 chapters. The first part of the book focuses on providing a foundation on how games are developed in the professional games industry, and how the development process of the professionals can be applied to game design in 3D Game Studio. The second and third parts of the book concentrate on creating complete games in the game engine.

Fundamentals that are covered include:

  • Game concept and creating design documentation
  • Game level design in 3D Game Studio WED world editor
  • Modeling and animating characters in 3D Game Studio MED model editor
  • Programming in 3D Game Studio SED script editor
  • Implementing user game interfaces
  • Creating combat systems

Duggan’s use of the 3D Game Studio internal editors is refreshing, as so many books on 3D game engines, including Duggan’s own Torque for Teens, choose to focus on expensive modeling software such as Autodesk Maya or 3D Studio Max for creating 3D game art assets.

Making 3D Game Art with WED and MED

SÜPERCAN, A8 engine, 3D Action Adventure by Sobee Studios

While 3D Game Studio WED and MED are feature-light when compared to such powerhouse modeling packages as Maya and Max, recently developed games such as “The Adventures of Ambages,” use only media created in WED and MED. This game demonstrates that 3D Game Studio is a complete game authoring package, providing all the tools required to create games in their entirety.

3D Game Studio Guide CD

This CD has all the tools except one. 3D Game Studio does not yet include a sound editor. However, Duggan foresees this shortcoming and provides a CD to accompany the book that contains freeware software that adequately covers those areas that the 3D Game Studio internal editors lack.

The CD contains:

  • A 30-day trial version of 3D Game Studio
  • A copy of Audacity Sound Editor
  • The Gensurf Terrain Generator
  • A Beta version of Paint Dot Net
  • The A4 Font Generator

The CD also contains sample art files, audio files, WADS, 3D models and the custom scripts used throughout the book.

Game Making Made Easy with the 3D Game Studio Guide

In The Official Guide to 3D Game Studio, Michael Duggan has provided an approachable, readable and entertaining foundation in 3D game making that is applicable not just to 3D Game Studio, but to any modern 3D game engine.

His book is a comprehensive introduction to the 3D Game Studio authoring software, and to the game creation industry as a whole, as one could hope for in under 450 pages. Used as a reference work along with the free 3D Game Studio Acknex User Magazine (AUM) for specific code examples, readers of Duggan’s book are supplied with all they need to create their own 3D video games. As such, The Official Guide to 3D Game Studio should be considered an essential purchase for 3D Game Studio users.